SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Branch of the NAACP held a luncheon at The Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Jan. 15 to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King, a civil rights icon who was taken from this life too soon by an assassin’s bullet, fought against racism and sought equality for all. His work continues to this day.
The theme for the event, which was a tribute to Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and first responders, was “It Starts with Me: Shifting Priorities to Create the Beloved Community.”
Jeanetta Williams, the president of the NAACP Salt Lake Branch, was in charge of the event and presented awards as well as giving opening and closing remarks. The emcee for the luncheon program was Surae Chinn, a host on ABC4’s “Good Things Utah.” The invocation and benediction were given by Pastor Corey J. Hodges of The Point Church. After the Pledge of Allegiance, University of Utah student Isabel Cross sang the Negro National Hymn.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Award was established in 1985 to recognize Utah citizens whose efforts have contributed significantly to the advancement of civil rights in the state of Utah. This year’s recipient was S. Floyd Mori, who was born and raised in Utah. He is a former national executive director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and past president on the board of the JACL. He is also a past president of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) in Washington, D.C.
He has been an active board member of the Mount Olympus Chapter of the JACL in Utah for many years and has worked with various civil rights groups in the state and in the nation.
The Rosa Parks Award was established for the dual purpose of honoring the courage with which Parks challenged racial segregation and to honor a woman whose life in Utah has helped to keep the dream alive. The recipient this year was Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. A fifth-generation Utahn who was born and raised in Salt Lake City, she was the first woman elected to the Salt Lake County Council. where she served for ten years before becoming mayor.
The event also honored first responders from various police units in Utah.